IMPRESSIVE Bournemouth booked their place in the Championship next season – but they were made to work hard for the right to pop the champagne corks as Carlisle United showed why they have enjoyed such a good run of form.
The final score line may look comfortable but it was far from an easy ride for a Cherries side who looked nervous and edgy throughout.
Carlisle boss Greg Abbott said: “The lads have been magnificent these last few months.
“This was a big occasion for Bournemouth and I thought we handled it better than they did.
“We could have been out of sight if we’d taken our chances in the first half and, in the end, they have shown that bit of quality in our box which is the reason why they have done what they’ve done this year.”
Striker Lee Miller brought the best out of Ryan Allsop as United bossed things and Rory Loy was left with his head in his hands when his late first-half thunderbolt crashed away to safety off the bar. However, it was the Cherries who held the advantage at the break when Steve Cook rounded off an intricate short corner routine with a header.
Midfielder James Berrett said: “We knew we didn’t deserve to be behind and the gaffer told us to keep doing what we were doing during the break. Unfortunately, they hit us when we were going forward so the result probably flatters them.”
The Cumbrian equaliser came from a spectacular overhead effort from captain Lee Miller which took his personal tally to nine for the season as he became the club’s standalone top scorer.
He said: “It was dropping over my shoulder, so I just decided to hit it. They can go wild or go in. Fortunately for me it went in.”
Openings came and went as Carlisle tried to spoil the party but a moment of magic from former-Blues loanee Harry Arter restored the Cherries lead and took the sting out of the United tail.
Brett Pitman rounded things when he got on the end of a flowing move to drill the ball past Gillespie and into the bottom corner.
BOURNEMOUTH: Allsop, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, O’Kane (Hughes 67), Pugh, Pitman, Grabban (MacDonald 88). Subs (not used): Jalal, Tubbs, Fogden, Seaborne, McQuoid. Booked: Daniels. Goals: Cook 25, Arter 56, Pitman 90.
CARLISLE: Gillespie, Potts, Livesey, O’Hanlon, Robson, Mustoe (Beck 90), McGovern (Salmon 82), Noble, Berrett, Loy (Manset 77), Miller. Subs (not used): Collin, Murphy, Edwards, Todd.
Booked: Noble. Goal: Miller 50.
Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)